Bosch Multi-X: A specialist with unique abilities.
Feb 16, 2010 (Updated Mar 30, 2010)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:reach in tight spaces, square cuts possible, cordless = portable
Cons:Somewhat expensive, not for heavy duty or prolonged usage
The Bottom Line: A great tool for those special situation when other power saws don't fit, albeit not for general use.
Generally speaking, an oscillating saw like the Bosch PS50 (or Fein, Dremel etc.) is a bit of an outsider in any toolbox and nothing one would frequently reach for, unless ... you're in tight spots all the time. And that's eaxactly the justification for the $200 (MSRP) or $100 (reconditioned) as many other saws require space in the stroke direction. The oscillating tool is also a spot sander and whatever tool you can find for it (i.e. spatula).
Recommend this product?
I recently had to cut existing crown molding and aside from a cutting wheel in my RotoZip, there was no other power saw fit for the job to cut cleanly in tight corners. So the Max Multi-X is one of those rare designs that gets in the tightest corners without needing any space in excess to the actual cut. In fact, it can reach into square corners with the right blade, a task too much for any rotary cutting wheel. Further, one can do some "carving" jobs of complicated geometry very difficult to reproduce with a linear cut.
The Bosch Max Multi-X isn't the only nor the first oscillating saw in the market, but all others that I am aware of are are corded. The PS-50 includes two BAT411 batteries to keep working with one while the other charges. So far, my work load wasn't heavy enough to fully exhaust one battery before the other completed charging as i use it intermittently. Cold weather and constant usage along with the high speed setting might do the trick as the batteries are not very big. Nevertheless, the BC430 charger refreshes a battery in about 30 minutes and downtime should be minimal.
Since there is no real stroke to this saw (or grinder etc.), the work is done through oscillation speed. Generally speaking, if you can get the saw edge to the right place, you can cut it. Other saws typically need some form of extra space for the stroke of the blade. Speed is adjustable between 5,000 and 20,000 opm. While sawing typically requires a 5 - 6 setting (15k - 20k opm), the spatula and other specialty blades are sometimes better served with a lower setting.
Although typical for the device type, Ergonomics isn't a strong point of the Multi-X as it strives to be universal and fit in a compact industrial design. So you're holding an eleven inch long and relatively thick device that has no clear tactile feedback regarding cutting direction - aside for the obvious orientation of the blade. (The vibration has no noticeable direction or orientation.)
The built-in battery tester in my device was not functional and looked a bit beat up, but I decided not to send it back as it otherwise works and I got it from a place with not-so-great return policy anyway. I guess if you store the device a long time between uses and want to make sure you start with a fresh set, the tester is really useful. (It turned out that the tester indeed worked and that seemed to require a better charge, but is now working.)
The blades are fairly expensive and most that I could find are not very durable either. Light to medium duty is probably a fair assessment, but it of course heavily depends on the materials you're planning to cut. VersaTool is offering a good universal set for $88. There are no carbide tipped blades that I am aware of and some cutting wheels are a bit reaching as a RotoZip would outperform the Multi-X any given time in applications where a rotary blade has enough room to be used.
The blade mounting appears to be universal across different vendors which makes it easier to find the right blade or cheaper replacements. Either case, real bargains are hard to find. But one gets a fairly universal tool in return. The blades (or polishing/grinding pads) mount in various angles depending on your access and can be simply amazing to reach corners otherwise virtually impossible to get to.
The best ways I find the Multi-X useful, is pretty much everywhere other types fail. Imagine square holes in dry wall for power outlets, hard to reach corners like door and crown molding in corners as two of my justifications where the Multi-X really ended the frustration (though dry wall holes are easy with a rotary bit in the RotoZip, but also more messy with dust). In fact, cutting crown molding in place (i.e. after upgrading the fireplace with stone venier) was one of the original frustrations leading to this purchase. And for that, I think it was worth the money. (add detail sanding to reach tight corners)
© 2010, theuerkorn
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